Bart Mendoza 5 a.m., Dec. 8
Supreme Court Justice Asks: Who Passed Bribe?
The California Supreme Court is hearing today (Nov. 4) the case of whether former San Diego City pension board members should stand trial for conflict of interest. The district attorney's office is pressing the case; the 4th district court of appeals said it could go forward, and it was appealed to the highest court. The question is whether six pension board members were violating conflict-of-interest laws when in 2002 they allowed the city to underfund the pension system in return for a big boost in pension benefits. Today, Justice Marvin R. Baxter asked if the arrangement was essentially a bribe. The DA's prosecutor, William La Fond, said it was. Baxter then asked who passed the bribe. La Fond said it was the city council. Then Baxter asked a key question: "Why weren't they prosecuted?" (Agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission chastised but did not cite the council for its role.) The Supreme Court is expected to render its decision in 90 days.